Ugh. Mornings. The hardest thing about being on vacation is getting up when the sun is up instead of going to bed when she pokes her head up over the mountains.
Anyway, now that I’ve had a few hours of sleep and am eating my breakfast — and more importantly drinking my American Breakfast tea (read: caffeine) — I hope to be able to write about testing for my patterns.
Anyway, testing. How I run testing for my toys has changed quite a bit over the year that I’ve been writing toy patterns. With Barry (I resisted the urge to post a picture of Barry, aren’t you all proud of me?), I just threw up a picture of my finished toy in Pen, Hook, And Needles Podcast group on Ravelry and prayed that someone who watched Mom and my podcast would be kind enough to test for me. Actually, my rules for testing were barely a paragraph long. A lot has changed since then.
Now I have a full form. Partially because now I know what I need from my testers (thank you, Creative Yarn Entrepreneur for your guidance on your podcast!) and partially because other testing groups I’ve been in have helped me develop a form. Oh, and I also allow people to post their finished objects on the Ravelry pages or show them on their podcasts. Because, seriously, I can use the publicity. The more people who are showing off my toys, the better.
I’ve discovered, now that I am on my 7th design test, what it is that I really need from my testers. Oh, and I’ve now added a #7 to that list — What hook and yarn did you use and how much yarn did you use?
As mentioned in previous blog posts, I am a rather tight crocheter, so it’s important for me to know how much yarn my testers use. If most people more yarn than I do, the amount of yarn I suggest for people to buy, is going to be more than if everyone uses the same amount of yarn I do.
Why compensation? Well, my testers are valuable to me. They catch my mistakes, give suggestions, and provide pictures that get my patterns out there for others to see. I want to reward them for their time and support.
It was because of my testers for Barry the Cardinal that I have so many close-up pictures (for placement of limbs, etc.) at the end of pattern for my toys. It was because of my testers for the Tilly the Springer Spaniel pattern that I added video tutorials that have now become such an important part of my designs. It was because of my testers for the Selina the Cat pattern that I’ve streamlined my pattern writing. And many other small changes have come about in my pattern writing from each test.
My testers help me grow as a pattern designer and help me to make my patterns better. A year from now, my tests may look different, based on what I’ve learned and what I need for my patterns. But I will never cease to need testers for my patterns.
Pattern testers out there, I salute you — and whole-heartedly thank you for all your help!